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  • Writer's pictureFreia Muehlenbein

Processes WILL save you money, time, and stress


(I am painfully aware of the German stereotypes here...)

When I work with agencies, I often find that there are only two kinds of people: Those who love process, and those who don't. Unfortunately, if your agency leadership team mostly consists of people who hate process, chances are that you are wasting time and money.

This picture was taken in 2011 when my old agency experienced some intense growth. Around half of these people were in my team, only one year after I set up a new service offering with zero team members. And this growth continued for multiple years.

⚡ In the early days, we’d waste time doubling up or making processes up from scratch every time they were needed. We’d sell work at the wrong price because we didn’t know the true cost of our activities.

📃 To scale more sustainably, I had to make as many processes repeatable and documented as possible. Over the years, we formalised everything from client and staff onboarding, PR and content activity, client service levels, project management etc. which saved us money and stress.

I follow the same process with my clients now. Many agencies will experience clunky processes when they hit 20-50 people, or don't have an Ops Director. Examples of recent work:

  • Agency A didn’t have a process for client onboarding and didn’t charge for it. After mapping the end-to-end activities, they decided that onboarding should be priced at £5,000 minimum depending on complexity. In the last financial year, they signed 15 new clients who didn’t pay for onboarding. This equates to £75,000.

  • Client B regularly overserviced their clients, but didn’t know why. They recorded where time was going, which helped us map the common activities and how long they currently take. We compared those numbers to the client fees, mapped out the common activities needed to service an account, and adjusted future pricing accordingly.

  • Agency C didn't have a defined process for the regular activities within their PR department, which caused stress and time constraints. We mapped out the end-to-end client process, including all project management activities and service levels, to ensure effective client services and accurate pricing of all work. Most importantly, it enabled the agency to monitor and plan team resources more effectively and understand sources of stress.

If done well, processes will

  1. tell you the true cost of your work so you can charge accordingly

  2. save you time and money by using an agreed way of doing things

  3. have input and buy-in from your teams

Many of my clients are agency owners who know the barriers in their business but aren’t keen on the process creation. That’s where I can help. I promise it's usually much more straightforward than you think. Find out more about my services.


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